Lighthead

Lighthead

4.1 8
by Terrance Hayes
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

 
Winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry

In his fourth collection, Terrance Hayes investigates how we construct experience. With one foot firmly grounded in the everyday and the other hovering in the air, his poems braid dream and reality into a poetry that is both dark and buoyant. Cultural icons as diverse as Fela Kuti, Harriet Tubman,

…  See more details below

Overview

 
Winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry

In his fourth collection, Terrance Hayes investigates how we construct experience. With one foot firmly grounded in the everyday and the other hovering in the air, his poems braid dream and reality into a poetry that is both dark and buoyant. Cultural icons as diverse as Fela Kuti, Harriet Tubman, and Wallace Stevens appear with meditations on desire and history. We see Hayes testing the line between story and song in a series of stunning poems inspired by the Pecha Kucha, a Japanese presenta­tion format. This innovative collection presents the light- headedness of a mind trying to pull against gravity and time. Fueled by an imagination that enlightens, delights, and ignites, Lighthead leaves us illuminated and scorched.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The deservedly acclaimed Hayes returns in his fourth book with the kinds of sly, twisting, hip, jazzy poems his fans have come to expect, but also with a new somberness of tone and mature caution. “You can spend your whole life/ doing no more than preparing for life and thinking/ 'Is this all there is?' ” warns the book's opening poem. Later, in a book that thinks hard about fatherhood, family, and mortality, Hayes asks, “Who cannot think// Our elegies are endless endlessly and the words/ We put to them too often unheard and hurried?” Elsewhere, Hayes treats memory with his signature wit: “I believe, as the elephant must,/ that everything is punctured by the tusks of Nostalgia.” The book also contains a surprisingly effective series of poems based on a form called “pecha kucha,” which, Hayes explains, is a type of Japanese business presentation in which the presenter must riff on a series of slides or images; Hayes adapts this form by bracketing the title or “slide” he's riffing on (“The Magic of Magic” and “The Function of Fiction” are two examples) and following with a four- or five-line stanza. The poems free-associate through their triggers, but images and themes satisfyingly resurface. Hayes, now entering mid-career, remains one of our best poets. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In this thoroughly delightful collection, Hayes invites readers to share his experience and especially his sense of the African American experience through the eyes of such alter egos as Lighthead, Bullethead, Tankhead, and Orpheus. "I already know the difference/ between hearing and listening," one narrator says, and if they are paying attention, readers will, too, in poems that acquire their power through humor and music, the rhythm of a line, the cadence of a song whether that song be a sonnet or a litany of "Twenty-six Imaginary T-shirts" or an homage to the likes of Marvin Gaye or Gwendolyn Brooks. In Hayes's two Golden Shovel poems, he ends his own lines with Brooks's words. Further evidence of Hayes's innovation can be seen in three Pecha Kucha (pe-chak-cha) poems, a take on the Japanese phrase for chitchat and a kind of business presentation. Hayes delivers his narratives in 20 short stanzas, each a short take on a subject. "How, with pipes of winter/ lining his cognition, does someone learn/ to bring a sentence to its knees?" Terrance Hayes does. VERDICT Highly recommended for contemporary collections.—Karla Huston, Appleton Art Ctr., WI
Elizabeth Lund
…playful, edgy…
—The Washington Post
Stephen Burt
Hayes's fourth book puts invincibly restless wordplay at the service of strong emotions: a son's frustration, a husband's love, a citizen's righteous anger and a friend's erotic jealousy animate these technically astute, even puzzlelike, lines.
—The New York Times

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143116967
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/30/2010
Series:
Poets, Penguin Series
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
194,438
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Terrance Hayes received an MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh. He was the recipient of a 1999 Whiting Writers Award, and his first collection of poetry, Muscular Music, was the winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 2000. He is currently an assistant professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Lighthead 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dr_Wilson_Trivino More than 1 year ago
"I'm not shy, I'm sober" states Terrance Haynes in Lighthead and then follows that with "This is Not an Exit" means "Do not Enter" in a poem titled Twenty-Six Imaginary T-Shirts. In Lighthead by Terrance Hayes the poems cover the gambit of sexuality, failure, and triumph. In God is An American has a stanza "I love words. When we make love in the morning/ your skin damp from a shower, the day calms". The soulful book captures the essence of change in a continuing shifting world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago